On Afghanistan, Trump Is Right To Be Skeptical, by William J. Astore

Now why would President Trump be skeptical of the longest running war in American history, a war that has left the country in which it was waged in worse shape than when the war began? From William J. Astore at antiwar.com:

NBC news reports that President Trump is skeptical about the U.S. military’s prospects in Afghanistan. The military is losing, not winning, Trump said, and he further suggested the US commander on the scene should be fired. Meanwhile, China is cleaning up with mineral rights (such as copper mining), even as America’s generals continue with a “stay the course” policy, a policy that’s led to sixteen years of “stalemate” (the US military’s word) at a cost of roughly a trillion dollars.

I highly recommend reading the NBC article for at least two reasons. First, Trump is right to question his advisers’ stale advice. He’s right to question the generals. Indeed, that’s his job as president and commander-in-chief. If sixteen years of effort and a trillion dollars has produced “stalemate” (at best) in Afghanistan, can one blame the president for seeking a new strategy? Perhaps even a withdrawal?

Second, and most interesting, is the push-back from NBC News and its hired guns: the retired generals and admirals who work for NBC as “consultants.” Let’s look closely at their comments.

Retired Admiral James Stavridis, a former head of NATO and an NBC News analyst, basically blames the Trump administration, not the military, for the Afghan stalemate. In his words:

“The situation in Afghanistan is not improving, but I think it’s hardly irretrievable at this point, and what the president needs to be doing is deciding on the strategy.”

“What is hurting the process at the moment is this back and forth about do we stay or do we go, how many troops,” he added. “Any commander is going to be incredibly handicapped in an environment like that. So I think the fundamental problem here is lack of decisiveness in Washington, specifically in the White House.”

To continue reading: On Afghanistan, Trump Is Right To Be Skeptical

 

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